Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. This is a Bank robbery
Shares of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers were undressed after the upscale men's apparel provider hosed down its outlook.
Jos. A. Bank now sees net income plunging 20% in fiscal 2012, and that's with an extra week in its operating calendar.
Companies warn all the time, so that's not the real reason Jos. A. Bank makes the cut. The 602-store chain gets singled out first this week because the retailer waited until 8:05 p.m. on Friday of last week to talk down its prospects.
Really? Does Jos. A. Bank really subscribe to the notion that putting out bad news ahead of the weekend will make the market forget about what happened when traders return? Its stock took a 17% hit on Monday, and rightfully so.
You can't dodge the truth.
2. RIM shot
Shares of Research In Motion have fallen in each of the past five trading days after peaking at $18.32 last week.
The "sell on the news" sell-off was easy to see coming ahead of Wednesday's BlackBerry 10 launch, but RIM didn't help its chances in announcing that one of the two smartphones -- the Q10 with the physical keyboard -- won't be available until mid-March or possibly even April.
Reviews for the operating system have been generally positive. The Z10 handset has also gotten mostly glowing reviews outside of its battery life. However, investors who drove up RIM shares ahead of the event failed to realize that it won't be easy to unseat iOS and Android as the smartphone platforms of choice -- and that BlackBerry isn't alone in trying to make a difference.
3. No more Mr. Softy
Microsoft hasn't been able to breathe new life into the moribund PC industry, so why not go for a 400% price increase on Windows Pro 8?
The world's largest software company bumped the price of upgrading from more recent Windows operating systems to Windows Pro 8 from $39.99 to $199.99 today. Microsoft has been publicizing Feb. 1 as the day when upgrade prices go up, but one would think that it should have reconsidered given the market's chilly reception to desktops and laptops running the new touch-centric platform.
Sure, most people who want Windows 8 will just go out and buy a new PC now. However, shriveling up the software upgrade market will make it that much harder for Microsoft to matter in an environment where mobile computing -- on iOS and Android devices -- is redefining the user experience.
Bad move, Microsoft.
4. Take-Two "Auto" know better than this
Take-Two Interactive took a hit on Thursday after revealing that its marquee release -- Grand Theft Auto V -- won't hit the market until September.
This isn't the first time that Take-Two suffers after announcing a delay of a significant release. However, this delay is magnified given the blockbuster nature of the title and the decaying nature of console gaming in general.
Waiting until later this year risks bumping the game against the historical November Call of Duty releases and the potential debut of next-gen consoles for Xbox and PlayStation gamers.
Oh, and given Take-Two's history of delays, let's not write that Sept. 17 release date in permanent marker.
Speaking of video game consoles, Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY) is once again disappointing investors.
The Japanese gaming pioneer conceded that it has sold just 3.06 million Wii U units since November's launch. It will fall well short of the 5.5 million systems that it was expecting to sell in its fiscal year ending in March. Nintendo now believes that it will move just 4 million Wii U systems.
Nintendo is already coming off its first fiscal year loss in three decades, and now it's lowering its forecast for this fiscal year.
It was probably easy to see the Wii U falling short. I was blinking amber after Nintendo was discussing the initial sales of the system in November. Despite the bar-raising nature of the touchscreen controller as a second screen, the Wii U was released priced too high relative to the competition and lacking flagship titles.
Once again, the gaming industry blows a chance at regaining relevance.
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